The Houston Rockets are in the midst of a rebuild. After years of making deep postseason runs the franchise crumbled to the league’s worst record. A large part of that was due to the Rockets’ losing James Harden, but of equal responsibility was the franchise’s lack of young reinforcements waiting in the wings.
The Rockets routinely flipped their first-round draft picks for immediate NBA-ready help as they chased a championship and as a result, they haven’t selected anyone in the first round since 2015. The team was built to win around James Harden and with him gone there simply wasn’t enough talent to compete.
The Houston Rockets need more young talent
The Rockets need an infusion of young talent and the 2021 NBA draft will offer them a chance to do just that. With the second, 23rd, and 24th picks the Rockets are making up for lost time but they will still be short in the youth department.
As disappointing as the 2020-21 season was for the Rockets, the emergence of Christian Wood, after signing for three years and $41 million dollars in the offseason, as an All-Star caliber player was a welcome ray of hope. In Wood, the Rockets have one of the most unique player assets in the entire NBA.
Christian Wood is the Houston Rockets best trade asset
Wood’s salary is that of a solid sixth or seventh man but his production makes him a borderline All-Star. Outside of players on rookie contracts, the list of centers who average 20 points a game on efficient shooting from 3-point range and are paid under $20 million annually starts and ends with Wood.
At only 25-years-old the Rockets may very well view him as a long-term building block and have no intentions of trading him. However, everyone has their price and there is one team in particular that has the assets and the need to swing a move for Christian Wood— the Golden State Warriors.
Why the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are perfect trade partners
The Warriors had their own season from hell in 2019-20. Due to injuries to two of their superstars, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, the team limped to the worst record in the league after reaching the NBA Finals in each of the five previous seasons. And just like the Rockets this season, their worst overall record landed them the number two overall pick in the NBA draft, which they used to select James Wiseman.
The talent that Wiseman possesses jumps off the screen every time he runs down the court. No seven-foot human should move as gracefully and explode as easily through the heavens as he does. However, for all of his physical talents he remains a raw basketball talent and his lack of experience was glaring enough in his rookie season that the Warriors benched him during their playoff push.
The Warriors have an aging core that, with the right pieces around them, could still make one or two more pushes for a championship. While Wiseman might one day become a star, he won’t be one quick enough in time to overlap with the tail end of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson’s primes.
Christian Wood would be the perfect center to give the Warriors one final championship boost. His ability to stretch the floor would fit perfectly within the Warriors’ offense and many of his defensive limitations would be papered over by the still sublime Draymond Green.
The Warriors clock is ticking and Christian Wood could be their ticket to one final championship run with the core that brought them three titles. Fortunately for the Rockets, the Warriors don’t just have a need for Christian Wood, they also have the assets to pull off the move.
The Warriors had the aforementioned James Wiseman, the seventh and 14th picks in the 2021 NBA draft, and own their 2022, 2023, and 2027 first-round picks, with the ability to trade their 2025 and 2026 picks if necessary. The Warriors and the Rockets are perfect trade partners for a deal centered around Christian Wood. These are three trades that would send Christian Wood to the bay area and land the Rockets a massive return.
Next: Trade #3